I was reading about Arthas recently, and it dawned on me that the high elves did not come to aid the humans in Lordaeron when they were being decimated by Arthas and his forces. I read this on Wowpedia's article about Anasterian Sunstrider, the High King of the elves:

Still reigning over Quel'Thalas at the time of the Third War, despite his advanced age, Anasterian spared little thought for the plight of the humans in Lordaeron; true to the past, believing it to be a human issue than the high elves would not deign to trouble themselves with.

To me, it doesn't make sense why he would do this. He was proved wrong in the past when he believed that the humans' problems were not his own, and he and his people paid very dearly for his apathy on this second occasion. Can anyone elaborate on why he and/or his people did not aid the humans in Lordaeron against the Scourge?


It seems also that Arthas took a while in Northrend chasing Mal'Ganis and getting corrupted by Frostmourne and killing his men. Not to mention what seems to be a fairly large distance between Northrend and Lordaeron: http://cl.ly/image/1n0x0p0B2x1p. It seems as though that would have been enough time for the elves to realize that something was up in Lordaeron.

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    actually one of the first things arthas did was go trash the capital of the high elves, so... – Himarm Feb 11 '15 at 19:34
  • @Himarm Yeah, but not at first. He first went to Lordaeron and murdered his father and killed a great deal of people. Then, he went to Quel'Thalas to bring back Kel'Thuzad as a lich. – GDP2 Feb 11 '15 at 19:38
  • im replaying the human campaign right now, and were talking a week or 2 max from the time the plague starts till lordaeron falls to arthas, its quick. – Himarm Feb 11 '15 at 19:47
  • so, as i said before i was playing through the alliance missions, and so from the time arthas meets up with uther and they first encounter the plague its about 1 week, each mission says the next day or after 2 days of travel, in the loading screen. the culling of stratholme effectively ends the plague and lorderon is "safe". at this point arthas goes to northrend to chase down malganis and get frostmorne, but the plague at home is already under control. upon his return he essentially just kills his father, and becomes the king. not much for the high elves to do even do. the next thing he does – Himarm Feb 16 '15 at 15:06
  • is invade them personally. – Himarm Feb 16 '15 at 15:07

TL;DR: The High Elves were arrogant and underestimated the threat.

Despite fighting alongside the Humans & Dwarves during the Second War, the High Elves of Silvermoon were extremely arrogant and thought very little of the Humans in general. Having successfully scattered the Orcish Horde years before, it was unthinkable to the elves that any new foe could present an actual threat to them. As a result, they preferred to remain nestled away in the paradise surrounding Silvermoon, confident that any threats would pose a problem for the humans, but not their own civilization.

There is also the small matter that no one asked them. Had Lordaeron formally requested assistance from their High Elf neighbors, it's still unlikely that the elves would have rushed to aid them. As it was, no such request was even made. And even if it had been, we're talking a matter of days (likely less than 2 weeks) between the initial signs of the plague and the day that Arthas took Lordaeron by force.

Once word reached them of the death of King Menethil, only then did the elves begin considering the possibility that the threat might be real. The Ranger-General of Silvermoon, Sylvanas Windrunner, had barely any notice when Arthas unexpectedly launched an attack on High Elf territory. The attack, and the sheer ferocity shown by Arthas and his forces, caught the High Elves completely off-guard.

  • Well, wasn't Arthas chasing Mal'Ganis in Northrend for a considerable amount of time (possibly weeks or months)? It seems like there was more time between the initial signs of the plague and him taking Lordaeron by force than simply two or so weeks, although I may just have the exact measurements of time screwed up in my head. – GDP2 Feb 11 '15 at 20:16
  • It does seem like that, but actually the events in Northrend took place over several days, a week at most. – Omegacron Feb 11 '15 at 20:17
  • Huh. I thought that it would at least take weeks to sail there. – GDP2 Feb 11 '15 at 20:18
  • by the time arthas got back, lordaeron the city was most likely all that was left anyway, all of the major cities are destroyed in the gameplay, andorhol, stratholm, thats pretty much it for the northern kingdoms cities. the only time the elves should have been concerned was when the plague hit stratholm as thats probably the closest city to the elves, however since arthas slaughtered everyone in the entire city... problem solved, problem staying solved, rangers lead the way. – Himarm Feb 11 '15 at 20:27
  • @GDP2 - in OUR world, it would. On Azeroth, however, things work differently. You can apparently sail from one continent to another in no time at all. It may have to do with currents from the Maelstrom. – Omegacron Feb 11 '15 at 20:34

The fall of Lordaeron was swift, and complete before anyone could really do anything. almost the entire northern population was exposed in a mater of a week or 2, there were high elves actively part of the alliance at that time all of the spell casters were high elves, and the entirety of Lordaeron was crushed in just a month or so. Honestly the way Warcraft 3 plays out no one but Arthas and Uthur(Jaina) even recognize a threat, in a matter of days during the human campaign you have almost no one left to help other then the capital, which Arthas himself takes care of. None of the wizards of Dalaran(except Jaina) helped nor did any of the other kingdoms of humans. Honestly the high elves were very isolationist anyways so they probably were never even asked for help. The reports likely to have come to the high elves would have been of a plague in the grain killing people. The part where they then come back to life wasn't really known by anyone other then Arthas and co. Plus your asking why semi immortals arn't risking their lives to help mere mortals, when they are safe and sound behind their borders.

  • Like I said in my comment to Omegacron, wasn't there more time than a few weeks between Arthas effectively destroying Lordaeron and the initial signs of plague and undeath? It seems as though he was chasing Mal'Ganis and gone in Northrend for a good while, which seems to be enough time for the elves to have realized that the Scourge was a real threat. – GDP2 Feb 11 '15 at 20:19
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    How are you determining your time frames? It would take days just to travel from Lordaeron to Northrend by boat one way. That's not to mention dealing with multiple issues and engaging in multiple battles at home, sailing to Northrend, setting up a base, doing some stuff that involves multiple battles, sailing back, trashing your home country (again, multiple battles), raising (literally raising) an army, invading a neighboring country, and then trashing their capital city. Doing all that would take months, if not years. – Ellesedil Feb 11 '15 at 20:49
  • @Ellesedil blizzard has changed the scale of the warcraft lands massivly between wc3 and wow, we know the entire events of warcraft 3 happen in 1 year. we know the plague itself litterally decimated all of northern lorderon again, in a mater of days, we know this because the plague takes 3 days to kill/raise you, anderhol sent plagued shipments everywhere essentially but the capital city, so we follow arthas pass through lorderon in a week or 2 for the grain to have spread/ kill everyone. wowwiki.com/Timeline_%28unofficial%29 – Himarm Feb 11 '15 at 20:58
  • the map was much smaller and closer together during the warcraft 3 campaigns, and northrend again was much closer in wc3 then it currently is in world of warcraft. – Himarm Feb 11 '15 at 20:59
  • once the grain arrived, anyone who ate it died within 3 days, and became part of the scourge, so he basically had an entire country of undead ready to go attack the elves, not like he recruited and built up an army, it was sitting their waiting for him. and every blood elf he encountered on the way died and joined his army. – Himarm Feb 11 '15 at 21:02

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